Tampa Bay Downs is proud to introduce its blog, “Racing in the Sunshine.” By giving visitors an up-close and personal look at the majestic world of Thoroughbred racing, the sport’s participants – racing officials, horsemen, backstretch workers, trainers, jockeys and track employees – hope to entertain and inform fans everywhere.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Diana Pimental, Association Official
insider’s opinions, observations and reflections about their favorite sport
Diana Pimental’s experience as a jockey’s agent, both here
and at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts,
is invaluable on those hectic mornings when the Tampa Bay Downs racing office
is scrambling to recruit horses to fill a card. “Diana can hustle a race,” said
Racing Secretary Allison De Luca. “If you give her one to fill, it will go.”
Pimental is in her 11th season at Tampa Bay Downs and fourth as
placing judge during afternoon racing, when she works with fellow officials Ed
Cantlon and Jen Moore. “It’s my job to make sure the correct numbers are posted
during a race and after the finish,” Pimental said. “We do have fans who tell
us after a photo finish they could have sworn their horse won, but the camera
doesn’t lie.” As an agent, Pimental’s Tampa Bay Downs clients have included
Jesse Garcia, Pedro Cotto, Jr., Jose Bermudez and Edwin Molinari. She still
“hustles book” at Suffolk
and will work there this season for jockey Hector Ramos. John Pimental, Diana’s
husband, is a successful trainer who conditions the popular gelding National
Hero, a winner of 15 of 39 lifetime starts who won consecutive Joseph E. Carney
Memorial Awards as New England’s Champion Turf Male at 8 and 9 years old. The
Pimentals have three daughters: Tabitha and Jennifer are in the bakery business
and Kasie, who lives in Germany,
is a schoolteacher. They also have six grandchildren, including Kasie’s son Jonathan
Oswald, a winning pitcher for the Ramstein Air Force Base team at the 2010
Little League World Series in Williamsport,
HOMETOWN: Attleboro, Mass.
BEST HORSE I’VE EVER
SEEN: Cigar was the best male horse I’ve watched, and Zenyatta was the best
female. (Trainer) Bill Mott let us come to his barn to meet Cigar when he ran in
the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk
in 1995 and ’96, during his 16-race winning streak. What a thrill that was!
HOW I GOT STARTED IN
RACING: My husband’s late father was also a trainer, and John was an
exercise rider for his dad. I worked in a shoelace factory and as a cook in our
girls’ school, but I was just waiting for them to get older so I could get
involved in racing. I was an owner and an assistant for John at first, but
(jockey) Julian Vazquez kept begging me to become an agent, and I’ve been doing
that almost 25 years.
INSPIRATION: My husband. He’ll train horses in the morning and pony horses
during the races. His work ethic has always been a great example.
CHANGE I WOULD MAKE
TO RACING: Find a way to provide more insurance coverage for jockeys who
are hurt or disabled.
MY FAVORITE SPORTS
TEAMS/ATHLETE: The New England Patriots
and Tom Brady. I love all the Boston
NO. 1 ON MY BUCKET LIST:
Take a vacation to Disney World for a week. We love it, but we’ve only stayed a
day at a time.
FAVORITE TV SHOW:
Survivor. My favorite player is
FAVORITE THING ABOUT TAMPA BAY DOWNS: I
get to work with one of my best friends, (Stakes Coordinator) Gerry
Stanislawzyk. I love working with everyone here. It’s a rewarding feeling when
we know we’ve put together a real good card.
WHAT ELSE I’D BE
DOING IF. … I probably would open a day-care center. I let everybody’s kids
hang out with me at Suffolk.
ADVICE TO SOMEONE
STARTING IN RACING: Always love your horses and treat them like your